Communists vs Zombies

By Alina Giuchici

In December 1989, the communist regime in Romania was overthrown by a popular uproar. Many lives were lost.

This is a story with fictional events. Not a historical document.

The Romanian revolution started on 16 December 1989 and ended on 27 December 1989 when the dictator Ceausescu was shot.

I hope you have fun reading it.

Episode 1

Dan was awake. He lay there in bed, holding on to the last moments of a dream where he could ignore the reality that surrounded him.

Freshly released from prison, he should be happy that he survived the 5 years of hard labor. His sentence was pronounced because he dared to think and share a few anti-communist ideas with his fellow humans. Being against the regime was the biggest crime possible in Romania.

He could not stand the way people where threated and the way ideas where muted, and the ones who dared to speak up would be silenced. Still, the 5 years of hard labor in a coal mine changed the once young history teacher who had a mind full of ideas and a heart full of hope into a broken old man.

Romania was a closed country, no one enters and more importantly no one ever escaped!!

Dan found himself in what was called a “re-education program “. After being released from prison he had a work placement assigned to him and a spot in a dorm. This hell he was in was maybe just one step above prison. Freedom was an illusion but at least Dan got to leave the room and see the sky. The mattress he lay on had springs and a few of those stuck against his back. Still a huge improvement to the wooden prison bed.

His sister sent him two blankets and a pillow, this way he covered the mattress. He was not curious to think about the origin of the stains on it. A man changes a lot in prison.

The door creaked.

“Man, are you awake? “Grigore, Dan’s roommate asked.

Grigore did time for the horrible crime of getting into a fight with a member of the secret police. He did not talk much.

“Yes”

“There’s no water. “

“Again? “

“Yeah. Do we have a bit in the pot? I want to shave. “

“There’s some in the bucket. “

“Thanks”

Dan heard Grigore dunk the metal cup in the bucket and taking some water. When you got out of prison you had nothing. Dan was lucky to have help from his sister, Grigore didn’t have anyone left. Families detached from the political prisoner. It was better that way. There was nothing that the family could do, and they were already tainted by association.

Dan finally opened his eyes after Grigore left for the bathroom that was down the hallway.

He was wearing pjs made from hard scratchy cotton. Still, he was lucky to have them. His sister probably sacrificed her ration of fabric to make those for Dan. Mara was a good soul. Dans only connection to life Mara, his sister, was sent to the other side of the country and didn’t get permission to visit. Dan couldn’t just leave. Or could he?

The room was freezing cold. There was no heating for the town. Other at work complained too about frozen apartments.

You would complain in a low voice, a little bit above a whisper, because eyes were on you. There was a chance that your colleague was an informer for the secret police.

Dan learned to spot them.

The informers where the guys who always had cigarettes, and shaving soap. Luxury stuff.

The small room was feeling claustrophobic around Dan.

He dressed, pulling up his trousers, shirt, and pullover. He had just two changes of clothes and he had to make do for an awfully long time. He was cold. It was almost worse than the suffocating heat in the mines during a day in July.

Dan looked at himself in the mirror. His beard was already grey,” Damn, I look older than 34! “. Opening the door to a small cabinet they keep the food in he found his share of the ratio. Everything was rationalized, you got a quarter of bread twice a week. Dan was used to be hungry. Lifting the mattress, Dan found his pack of Carpati cigarettes. Not that he didn’t trusted Grigore, but the friendship ends when cigarettes are part of the game.

An old moth chewed jacket was the only one Dan had. He shrugged into it, hiding the cigarettes in his breast pocket.

The cheap old clock showed 5:30 am. One hour should be enough for him to smoke two cigarettes and get to work.

Dan grew up in an intellectual family, they lived in another town, in a beautiful area. Now, here in Tim he was in the men’s dorms in an area called Star area. There was nothing stellar about it. New cold grey buildings where standing straight facing the cold icy December morning.

Dan found a cap inside the pocket of his jacket “Mara, you’re an angel“

He should write to Mara, wish her a Merry Christmas. Only, if someone saw the letter, he would be toast.

As a former history teacher, the work in the coal mine was horrible but, working in the factory was sucking the life out of him.

Dan walked through the empty streets towards the tram station.

A growl and a scream broke his morning reverie.

It was his morning walk, the time when he felt closer to his former self. The scream repeated itself, only this time the growl was followed by a high pitched female call for help.

Dan was no hero, but the years of hard labor and prison hardened him, made him able to stand his ground. He ran towards the street the scream came from. A woman was pushing away a man that stumbled, fell back, and jumped her again.

This made no sense. Rape was punishable by death, why would that guy risk this?

The streetlights were off. They were off most of the time. The party decided that the country had to save on, well, everything.

He called out “Hey, stop it or I’ll call the militia!!

No reaction. The man looked drunk or sick. As Dan drew closer, he saw that the man try to bite the woman’s hand.

This street was empty. One huge building was still under construction Dan grabbed a lump of broken concrete lying in the road.

“Hey, leave her alone! “